May 17, 2024


News & Information

Idaho Man Arrested for Planning ISIS-Inspired Church Attacks

2 min read

According to the Justice Department, the FBI detained a man in Idaho on Saturday who had sworn allegiance to ISIS and was purportedly planning an attack on churches in the state.


The complaint states that 18-year-old Alexander Scott Mercurio intended to use a variety of weapons, including “explosives, knives, a machete, a pipe, and ultimately, firearms,” to assault as many people as possible at churches in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on Sunday.

Mercurio’s violent plot was taken down by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), according to the DOJ, who announced the news in a press release on Monday.

“As alleged in the complaint, the defendant swore an oath of loyalty to ISIS and planned to wage an attack in its name on churches in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, the defendant was taken into custody before he could act, and he is now charged with attempting to support ISIS’s mission of terror and violence. The Justice Department will continue to relentlessly pursue, disrupt, and hold accountable those who would commit acts of terrorism against the people and interests of the United States.”

Special Agent Shohini Sinha of the FBI’s Salt Lake City office also spoke, per the release.

“This case should be an eye-opener to the dangers of self-radicalization, which is a real threat to our communities,” said Sinha. 

According to the DOJ, Mercurio now faces up to 20 years in prison for his alleged attempts to give resources or material support to a designated foreign terrorist group and for planning a terrorist attack.

“Mercurio is currently in custody, waiting for his first court appearance,” The Hill reported.

“This investigation demonstrates the FBI’s steadfast commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to stop those who wish to commit acts of violence on behalf of, or inspired by, foreign terrorist groups,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

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